Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 1: Online Games and Virtual Worlds: Business and Policy Developments
1. Online games and virtual worlds: business and policy developments Christian Reimsbach-Kounatze and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent INTRODUCTION The computer and video game industry is a young industry reaching back only 40 years. The development of CD-ROMs and better graphics in the mid-1990s drove rapid growth, now underpinned by the spread of ever-faster broadband and the growth of online games.1 The global market for game software2 was estimated to be worth more than USD 37 billion in 2007, growing at a rate of 19% and overtaking the market for recorded music (USD 30 billion) for the 1 This chapter is written in the personal capacity of the authors and the views expressed here shall neither be attributed to the OECD nor to its member countries. The authors thank Christoph Beat Graber, Mira Burri, Thomas Steiner and other participants for helpful comments and interesting debates at the international workshop on ‘Governance of Online Worlds and Cultural Diversity’, University of Lucerne, Switzerland, 12 September 2008. This chapter draws on and updates the OECD study on online computer and video games (OECD, Digital Broadband Content: The Online Computer and Video Game Industry, DSTI/ICCP/ IE(2004)13/FINAL, 12 May 2005); the OECD study on the ‘participative web’ (OECD, Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking, Paris: OECD, 2007) and relevant work of the OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008 (OECD, Information Technology Outlook 2008, Paris: OECD, 2008, chapters 3 and 5). It also draws on the results of the OECD-Canada Technology Foresight Forum...
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